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Of Mice And Men Female Characterization

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Jhelan Smith

on 31 May 2013

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Transcript of Of Mice And Men Female Characterization

Of Mice And Men Presented on May 30, 2013 by:
Ray-Ann, Naderge, Dudrine,
Neyssah, Jhelan and Alfredo Female Characterization Of the women in Of Mice and Men written by John Steinbeck, only three were given names: Lennie’s dead Aunt Clara, brothel-owner Clara and brothel-owner Old Susy. The other two women are referred to as the Girl from Weed and Curley’s wife. Lennie’s Aunt Clara and Brothel-Owner Clara The first woman mentioned is Lennie’s Aunt Clara. Aunt Clara is a character in Of Mice and Men who is characterized as the only positive female character among a cast of females portrayed as whores. Aunt Clara, while dead in the story, is shown to have been the caretaker of Lennie. Aunt Clara was known to give Lennie mice because she knew how much he liked to pet their fur. She was wholesome and motherly as opposed to the other Clara who is a brothel owner and isn't seen in the story, but is mentioned as the rival to brothel owner Old Susy. Although the share a common name, when considering their personalities, they are on opposite sides of the personality spectrum. Aunt Clara is pure whereas Clara is corrupt and sexually enticing. In addition, Aunt Clara is dead and the brothel owner Clara is alive, leading to the belief that perhaps Steinbeck named these two characters the same as a means of demonstrating that females are incapable of being nothing more but lewd and flirtatious while being alive. Lennie’s Aunt Clara and
Brothel-Owner Clara The first woman mentioned is Lennie’s Aunt Clara. Aunt Clara is a character in Of Mice and Men who is characterized as the only positive female character among a cast of females portrayed as whores. Aunt Clara, while dead in the story, is shown to have been the caretaker of Lennie. Aunt Clara was known to give Lennie mice because she knew how much he liked to pet their fur. She was wholesome and motherly as opposed to the other Clara who is a brothel owner and isn't seen in the story, but is mentioned as the rival to brothel owner Old Susy. Although the share a common name, when considering their personalities, they are on opposite sides of the personality spectrum. Aunt Clara is pure whereas Clara is corrupt and sexually enticing. In addition, Aunt Clara is dead and the brothel owner Clara is alive, leading to the belief that perhaps Steinbeck named these two characters the same as a means of demonstrating that females are incapable of being nothing more but lewd and flirtatious while being alive. Brothel-Owner Susy The majority of the women in Steinbeck's novel are portrayed in an unflattering light. The women in the novel seem to only serve the purpose to sexually entice the men in the novel and they serve only to aid in the men's downfalls. In addition to Curley's wife, the other women to be portrayed in Steinbeck's novel are 'whores'. A vice on the ranch hands in the novel is visiting the local brothel owned by Old Susy, who Steinbeck uses to demonstrate how women fail to serve a purpose greater than to just satisfy the current need of men. Old Susy is seen only as someone to provide the men with a service; when Whit is describing to George Old Susy’s brothel, he clearly says that the only thing that sets apart Old Susy and the rival brothel manager Clara is that Susy cracks jokes, has clean girls and lets the clients lounge a while without paying for services. Steinbeck makes Susy a good saleswoman while the girls are made into objects for sex and no other purpose. Girl From Weed The Girl from Weeds is seen as a helpless girl who exaggerates the manner in which Lennie touched her to the extent of claiming that Lennie raped her. This can be seen as an attempt of Steinbeck deeming women as troublemakers, since interacting with women seems to bring misfortune to both Lennie and George. This experience showed several factors of the book: the character development of Lennie, which shows how he was a grown man with the mentality of a child and how women negatively affect the main characters. Aunt Clara Who is She? Aunt Clara is Lennie’s deceased aunt who raised him since he was a boy before George took over. She cared for Lennie as if he was her own son, and always wanted the best for him. Appearance Short
Fat
Very poor vision (had to wear very thick, round glasses
Wore an apron
Very sharp and crisp Significance At the beginning of the novel, Lennie flashed back to a memory of Aunt Clara giving him rats to pet when he was younger, but Lennie’s strong forced killed them every time. After, as a substitute, Aunt Clara gave him a rubber mouse to pet, but he didn’t find it as soft. The text also includes a conversation with Lennie and Curley’s wife, in which he tells her that Aunt Clara once gave him a piece of velvet to feel, and how he loved it so, but he lost it a long time ago. Aunt Clara represents the odd ball from the rest of the female characters Steinbeck included. While the other women represent whore goddesses or trashy temptresses, Aunt Clara demonstrates the high standard qualities of a woman, thus she is highly respected. (Lennie refers to her as “Ma’am”) She is a motherly type, kind, generous and loving. The author included this character in the novel as the opposing factor to Curley’s wife. Aunt Clara represents the odd ball from the rest of the female characters Steinbeck included. While the other women represented whore goddesses or trashy temptresses, Aunt Clara demonstrated the high standard qualities of a woman, thus she was highly respected. (Lennie refers to her as “Ma’am”) She is a motherly type, kind, generous and loving. The author included this character in the novel as the opposing factor to Curley’s wife, which will be discussed later in the presentation. “I tol’ you, ‘Min’ George because he’s such a nice fella an’ good to you.’ But you don’t ever take no care. You do bad things.” “Tend rabbits,” it said scornfully. “You crazy bas*@^. You ain’t fit to lick the boots of no rabbit. You’d forget ‘em and let ‘em go hungry.” Why Does She Return? After Lennie kills Curley’s wife, he runs to the safe spot approved by George incase he ever got into trouble again. While he is waiting out in the brush, a figure of his imagination came out and spoke to him, Aunt Clara. She is very upset at his actions, just as a mother would be at their child. Lennie’s mind has Aunt Clara return because she is the only one who can scowl him for his actions, the only one who cares. She was disappointed in him. The things he loves the most come out and frown upon his behavior, as demonstrated by the gigantic rabbit that came from his head not soon after Aunt Clara retreated. Both were ashamed of him, and the burden he put upon George, moving from town to town as a runaway from the police and taking the blame of his actions. Aunt Clara focuses on how much of a better life George would have had had Lennie not been around. In addition, her return exhibited the love that she had for Lennie, and the love that Lennie has for her. As you can see, the only imaginative figures that lecture him are those he cherishes the most. Curley's Wife Curley's wife is the main female character in the story. She is considered dangerous by the men on the ranch because her flirting could cause them to get fired or end up in a fight with Curley. Men on the ranch saw Curley's wife as extremely flirty and promiscuous, they thought that she dressed provocatively and would flirt and sleep with just about anyone. They called her a tart. Despite her outward her appearance or the men's descriptions of Curley's wife she is extremely lonely. She feels trapped in her marriage and feels as though the only person she is "allowed" to talk to or interact with is Curley. She regrets abandoning her dream of becoming a Hollywood actress. She settled in marrying Curley and regrets it because he is mean and mistreats her and she always feels deserted.
The men see her advances as her stepping outside of her marriage but she truly just wants a friend, someone to talk to besides Curley. Example of our opinion of a character changing without the character changing: Throughout the whole book, Steinbeck describes Curley's wife as being loose, fast and promiscuous. Near her death he comes to show us that she is truly alone. During the story she is described as being a whore but when she is dead Steinbeck describes her as simple, pretty and, in a way, innocent. There are many explanations for Curley’s wife not having a name, among these are its insignificance to the story, discrimination against women in that time period and Steinbeck’s misogynistic bias. Curley’s wife not being given a name proves her unimportance as the story goes on uninterrupted without that bit of information. Of Mice and Men was written during the Great Depression era in the United States where women saw a drastic decrease of their place in society; again they were second to men and it was made very obvious in this book. Curley’s wife is practically owned by her husband once she has married him, hence CURLEY’S wife, belonging to Curley like an object. Her job was to stay in the house and do her duty as a wife and was not given any more importance than that. The Great Depression influenced Steinbeck’s writing as he wrote the book in this period and saw how little respect women were treated with. Appearance Was John Steinbeck a Misogynist? To answer this question we first must define the term misogynist. A misogynist is a person who hates, dislikes, mistrusts and or mistreats women. In order to classify John Steinbeck, we look to his novel, Of Mice and Men. Throughout the novel, women are shown no respect and are considered useful only for sex. From the very opening introduction of Curley's wife, Steinbeck portrays her as a very sleazy woman. Furthermore, he fails to even assign a name to her. The book is even titled Of MICE and MEN, giving no credit to the many important women in the book who help the story unfold. Of Mice and Men derogatorily assigns women only two lowly functions: caretakers of men and sex objects. George and Lennie imagine themselves alone, without wives or women to complicate their vision of tending the land and raising rabbits. Female sexuality is described as a trap laid to ensnare and ruin men. Another factor we have to look at is the time era in which this book was written, in the early nineteenth century it was not uncommon for women to be described solely by these aspects, in fact it was considered ordinary for women to be oppressed by dominance of men. Steinbeck’s misogyny is also revealed through the recurring point that the only good woman is a dead woman. Aunt Clara is the only woman seen in a good light throughout the book until the death of Curley’s wife, who becomes innocent and her actions justifiable by loneliness only after she is killed. Bibliography http://www.marshall.edu/library/bannedbooks/books/miceandmen.asp(picture 1)
http://www.glogster.com/nomonkeytohide/mice-and-men-cara-and-natalie/g-6lmesg6i2dojl0ld1f453a0(picture 2)
http://blsciblogs.baruch.cuny.edu/his1000spring2011/2011/02/23/the-prositute-and-the-gambler-entreprenuers-of-1800s-nyc/(picture 3)
http://www.glogster.com/samyraman/think-tac-toe-of-mice-and-men-/g-6mkp6e235cvbceqfo0drea0?old_view=True(picture 4) The author includes her return as a demonstration of the true feelings he has about women. Instead of ending the novel on a discrimiatory feel, he includes an exerpt where a woman is unlike all of the others mentioned. He may have included this character for multiple reasons.
Maybe he wanted to throw readers off, giving them the idea of his views on women as a false statement, for them to "approve" the novel.
Maybe it was to show that even Lennie's aunt didnt like him, shown through her angerness towards him.
Maybe it was just as plainly as its written, to show tjhat someone truely cares about Lennie, revealing that not all women are trash.
Ultimately, it gives the novel a sense of relief, knowing that Steinbeck wasnt a misogynist after all. Or was he? The End
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